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Table of Contents



An advertiser, also referred to as a client.


Automated Dialogue Replacement in a film. A process where actors replace dialogue in a film or video.


A person or group of people who represent voice over talent and bring them into their facility to audition, or arrange for them to audition for casting directors and producers.


Artificial Intelligence. Often a text-to-speech voice generator.


Also known as airtime, it’s the media time slotted for a commercial, hence on the air.

Air Check

A recorded portion of a radio program for demonstration purposes.


The continuous SFX behind voice-over suggests the monologue or dialogue in a specific setting, like a hospital, restaurant, retail store, gas station, etc.


A rough version of a TV spot, usually with storyboard images set to music and voiceover, usually prepared for presentation of a concept to a client.


The role assigned to a voice actor that usually has an authoritative and commanding quality. Abbreviated as ANN or ANNC on scripts.


Back Bed

The instrumental end of a jingle, usually reserved for location, phone numbers, legal disclaimers, or any other information the advertiser needs to add.


The music or sound effects (SFX) behind or under a voice actor’s voice.


The emphasis given a certain word or phrase in a script. Usually, a rectangle, or ‘billboard’ is drawn around the client name and/or product on the physical script to draw attention to the word or phrase.


Noise from the headphones being picked up by the microphone or from other ambient sources, like other tracks.


The audio console from which the engineer operates. The audio engineer has faders that adjust the volume and mix the various elements in a recorded spot. Also known as a console.


A decision and commitment on the advertiser’s part to hire (aka ‘book’) a voice actor for a session.


An overhead mic stand.


An enclosed, soundproofed room where voice talent usually works.


Recording one part of a sentence with variables within that sentence as a means of customizing a response. Often recorded for multimedia games and voice mail systems. Also known as concatenation.

Break Up

When vocal audio becomes distorted and unstable, usually caused by equipment problems or telephone line interference.

Broadcast License

A broadcast license allows you  to use the voice over for an advertisement. The licenses are based on the medium you are running the ad, the region it will be run in and the length of time the ad will run for. The mediums available on Voices are radio, television and online. 

For example, a Broadcast License would allow you to run an ad on television, locally, for 1 year.


A single scripted or improvised word, phrase or sentence at the end of a spot that clinches the commercial without introducing additional copy points. Can also be known as a ‘sting.’


Also known as a keeper. A ‘buy’ is the take the client selects as the best. Buy also refers to the amount of money spent on the media time for a commercial spot or campaign.


Call Letters

The letters assigned to a radio station by the FCC. In the United States, stations east of the Mississippi River have call letters starting with W, while stations that are west of the Mississippi have names starting with K.


The fictionalized person that an actor is cast to portray.

Class A

National network commercial usage.

Cold Read

An audition where an actor is given no time to rehearse.


Subtle speech nuances that give texture and shading to words to make them interesting and meaningful.


A large desk-like piece of equipment where the audio engineer monitors, records and mixes a voice-over session.

Control Room

Where the engineer and producer (and many times, the client) are located. This is usually a separate room from the booth.


Also known as the script. It’s the text of a spot.

Copy Points

The specific benefits of a product or service, placed throughout the script by the copywriter.

Creative Director

The person responsible for the work of all the other creatives on a given team, for instance, at an ad agency.

Cross Talk

When copy spoken into one actor’s microphone is picked up by another mic. The sound is said to spill over or bleed into the other actor’s mic.


Call-to-action. The action that the client is calling their customer to take.


An electronic or physical signal given to an actor to begin performing.

Cue Up

Matching to time and speed, lining up an actor’s voice to the visuals or music.


A specific segment of the voice over recording, usually referred to during editing.

Cut and Paste

The act of assembling different takes into a composite, edited whole.

Cutting Through

When a voice ‘slices through,’ or doesn’t get drowned out by music and sound effects.



An abbreviation for digital audiotape, high-quality audiotape used in sound studios.

Data Scientist

A person employed to analyze and interpret complex digital data, such as the usage statistics of a website, especially in order to assist a business in its decision-making.

Dead Air

When a voiceover pause is too long.


A unit for measuring the intensity of sound. Zero (0) would be no sound, 130 would cause acute aural pain.


A piece of equipment used to remove excess sibilance.

Deep Learning

A subfield of machine learning that structures algorithms in layers to create an “artificial neural network” that can learn and make intelligent decisions on its own.


A recorded demonstration of a voice actor’s voice talent that acts as a ‘calling card.’


The person responsible for giving an actor voice over direction in an audition, session or class.


Fuzziness in the sound quality of a recorded piece.


A section of a spot that will usually feature another voice, usually an announcer. Often, it’s the section of a jingle that showcases an announcement.


A term for a two-person spot, or dialogue.

Drive Time

The most frequently listened to times on the Radio. Morning drive refers to the hours between 6AM and 10AM, evening drive refers to the slot between 3PM and 7PM.

Drop Off

Not ending strong at the end of a word or phrase.

Drop Out

A minute moment of silence inside a recorded word or phrase.

Dry Read

A dry read is two-fold. It’s a read in which no music or background elements are added to the read. It can also refer to a style of reading in which factual information is being presented without any embellishments or frills added to the read.


Also called a dupe (as in duplicate), it’s copy of a spot or spots on cassette, DAT or CD. The verb to dub, or dubbing is the process of transferring recorded material from one source to another.


This dubbing is the process of dialogue replacement in a foreign film, as in dubbing a French voice into English.



Effects. Another term for SFX.


Also known as EQ, it is used to stress certain frequencies, which can alter the sound of a voice.



The Federal Communications Commission. Created in 1944 to regulate all interstate and foreign communications by Radio and TV.


To increase or decrease the volume of sound.

Fade In/Fade Out

When you turn your head away from the mic or towards it.

False Start

Situation where a talent makes a mistake within the first line or two of copy. The take is usually stopped and sometimes re-slated.


A distorted, high pitched sound, usually emanating from headphones or speakers. Many times caused by problems with the console or headphones getting too close to the microphone.

File Splitting

Separating one audio file into multiple files. This often allows for easier editing and post production.


What engineers put on a mic to make an actor sound clearer.

Fish-Bowl Effect

When the actor in the booth cannot hear what the engineer or producer is saying, or vice-versa.


How often a voice goes up or down, also known as inflection.


Also known in the business as a Foley Stage, this is a special sound stage used for source sound effects. Used to record up-close sound effects for film or video, where the Foley artists match sound with picture, such as walking, running, doors opening or closing, glass breaking, shots firing, etc.


Term applied to talent agents who adopt AFTRA guidelines.

Front Bed

The opposite of the back bed, where the announcement is at the beginning of a jingle.



The volume of a voice, or a fader on the console.


Portable partitions positioned around the actor to absorb or reflect sound, or to isolate the actor from another on-mic actor.




Also referred to as a Munchkiniser, it’s a piece of equipment designed to change the pitch of the voice-usually upward.

High Speed Dub

A copy of a tape or CD made at several times normal speed.


The high frequency sound of a voice.


When a potential client likes an audition enough to hold some of an actor’s time for a possible booking – a step before the booking. Usually the client is deciding between a couple of voice-acting candidates and wants to cover their bets.

Holding Fee

The money an actor receives if the client wants to hold a spot for airing at a later date.


Starting out on a high note on the first word of a spot to grab attention and immediately dipping down. Also used to describe the chorus section of a song.


Term used to describe a mic that’s on.

House Demo

An agency’s demo, the condensed version (each actor has only a one minute demo) of their roster of male and female talent.



Integrated Services Digital Network. Special high-quality lines that allow voice recording to be digitally transmitted from one recording facility to another.




A musical commercial.


Lay It Down

Another phrase meaning “let’s record.”

Lay Out

Don’t speak, as in “Lay out while the music plays in this section.”


To set a voice at the optimal point. When the engineer says, “Let’s get a level,” the actor will start reading the copy at the level they’ll be speaking throughout the spot.

Library Music

Pre-recorded music that producers use when the budget doesn’t allow original music. Each piece of music requires a fee to be paid, usually on an annual basis.

Line Reading

When a producer explains to a voice talent how they want a line read by reading it themselves.

Live Tag

The copy delivered at the end of a spot, usually by a staff announcer at the radio station.


Machine Learning

An application of artificial intelligence that includes algorithms that parse data, learn from that data, and then apply what they’ve learned to make informed decisions.

Major Markets

Refers to the ‘Big Three’: New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. These markets pay the most in voice-over work.


The original recording that all dubs are made from.


Stretching words out and giving them as much emphasis as possible, as in “Milk it.”


The blending of voice, sound effects, music, etc. Final mix usually refers to the finished product.


The loudspeakers in the control room.

Mouth Noise

The clicks and pops a microphone picks up from a dry mouth.


Refers to a script with three or more characters in it.


A machine capable of recording and replaying several different tracks at the same time.

Music Bed

The soundtrack that will be placed behind the copy, or mixed in with it.



Natural Language Processing.

Non-Broadcast License

A non-broadcast license allows you to use the voice over for as long as you wish, so long as it’s not being used with paid media (an advertisement). Some examples of unpaid media are internal training videos, e-learning, podcasts, etc. 



When an actor starts his or her line a moment before another actor finishes theirs.


Direction that makes the copy sound larger than life, requiring the actor to overact.



The speed in which an actor reads copy.

Paper Noise

Sound that the mic picks up as you move your script. Set it on the mic stand and leave it alone. If you have two pieces of copy and no stand, hold one page in each hand. If you have more than two pages, you may stop, place the next page in front of you, and continue. The engineer will accommodate you, as they don’t want to have to edit out paper noise.


To make an electrical/digital connection for recording and/or broadcast. Also referred to as a phone patch or land patch.


When sound reflects or bounces off certain surfaces and causes a weird, disjointed effect in the recording.


The small units of sound used to make words.


Re-recording a section of copy at a certain point. 90% of your read may be in the can, but there may be a phrase, sentence or paragraph that the director feels could be done a bit better, clearer, faster, slower, etc. The director tells you exactly where they want you to “pick-up” your line(s)-where to start from and where to end at. Read a sentence or phrase before the pick-up starting point, as well as the ending point. This is done to help the engineer better edit the pick-up, matching phrasing and levels.


Where the mic is positioned when an actor is reading.


Any consonant or combination of consonants that causes popping.

Plus Ten

Refers to the contractual agreement in which the producer agrees to add an additional 10% to the actor’s payment for the agent’s commission.


When voice sounds are registering too hard into the mic. Usually caused by plosives.

Pop Filter

A foam cover enveloping the mic or a nylon windscreen in front of the mic. Mitigates popping. Also known as a pop stopper.


Also known as post. The work done after the voice-talent has finished recording the session. This includes mixing in SFX and music.


Reading a word or line with more intensity.

Punch In

Sometimes referred to as a pick-up, it’s the rejoining or continuation of a piece of copy. The engineer will punch in a pick-up at a certain point in the copy, to help with editing later on.




The estimated price of a job, typically comes from the talent.



The style of reading an actor presents as a voice talent, or your performance, as in “That was a good read.”


Being dropped from consideration from a voice-over job. It’s one of two results from being on hold.


Continuing payments an actor receives every 13-weeks their spot airs. Also referred to as 13 weeks per spot per cycle.


The full quality of a voice created by vibrations in resonating chambers, such as the mouth and sinus areas.


What actors are paid when their spot is re-run. It is usually the same amount they received for the first 13-week cycle.


A variation of echo. It’s an effect added to your voice in post.

Room Tone

The sound a room makes without anyone in it.

Rough Mix

The step before the final mix. This is when the producer and engineer fine-tune levels of voice, music and sound effects.



This is a re-take that the producer or client wants to make sure that if there’s something technically wrong with the take they like, they have a back up. “Let’s do one more for safety,” is a common phrase. See protection.


Shorthand for sound effects. Also seen as EFX.

Scratch Track

A rough audio or video track that a production company or ad agency may put together for an actor to read. See animatic.

Series Of Three

Term used to describe a set of wild lines to be recorded, done in a set of three. Each read should be varied slightly.


The event where a talent performs a script for recording purposes.

Session Fee

Payment for the first commercial within the session. If an actor does two spots, they get a session fee plus payment for the other spot. If the same actor does a tag, they get a separate tag fee. And if they record only two tags, they get paid session plus one tag.


A drawn out or excessive “S” sound during speech. Some sibilance is joined with a whistle. This is a very annoying sound, which some engineers mitigate with a sound tool called a de-esser.


Commercial scripts for video, where the action is in the left column, the dialogue on the right, or animation.


The specific quality of a voice that makes it unique.


Also known as a monologue, or one-person copy.


Announcing a name and/or a number before a take, usually paired with the character the actor is playing. The slate helps the director and engineer identify and keep track of the actors and the various takes. Most slates are announced by the engineer, but sometimes the actors slates their own name.


Volunteering your services and postponing payment until a project sells. The popular definition is “working for nothing now on the promise of getting more than you deserve later on.”


Also referred to as spokes. A voice actor who is hired on a repeat contractual basis to represent a product or company.


A commercial. Originated from the days when all commercials were performed live, in between songs played on the radio. The performers were “on the spot.”

SRT Files

Synchronizing text to video using time code. Example: 0:01 – 0:09: “In this video we will review the basics of voice acting, audio production and translation.” 0:10 – 0:15: “Let’s discuss how to properly set up your studio. Your microphone is the most important element!”

Stair Stepping

Having the pitch progressively rise up or down as a means of defining phrases. This technique is especially effective when reading laundry lists.


Where copy is placed in the booth.


Increasing the energy on a long list of adjectives or superlatives.


The TV and Radio ratings periods when the total viewing or listening audience is estimated, thereby determining advertising rates. These occur in February, May and November.



Information placed at the end of a commercial containing a date, time, phone number, website address, legal disclaimer, etc. A different announcer sometimes reads the tag.


The recording of one specific piece of voice-over copy. All takes are numbered consecutively, usually slated by the engineer.


A broadcast performer, entertainer or voice-over artist.


Refers to the button connected to the microphone in the engineer’s console. It allows the engineer or director to talk to the talent in the booth.


The introductory line used to promote interest. Promos are sometimes referred to as teasers.


The speed at which copy is delivered.


Not a lot of time to read, or referring to a script that has a lot of words and not much time to say them in, e.g., “This is a really tight :60.”

Time Code

A digital read-out on the engineer’s console referring to audiotape, videotape positions. Used in film dubbing.


Text to Speech is a technology that allows written text to be output by speech.



Dipping down in a sentence and throwing a portion of it away.

Use Fee

An additional fee paid to the performer when their spot is actually aired.


Voice Print

The vocal equivalent of fingerprints. Can be seen on the monitor of any computer using a ProTools or similar sound tool.

V-O or VO

Short for voice over. Also seen as AVO (announcer voice over). It’s the act of providing a voice to a media project, where the voice is usually mixed over the top of music and SFX. Voice over was the term originally used to describe an announcer’s voice on a television spot, referring to the process as ‘voice over picture.’ The more accurate term now is voice acting, which is the art of using the voice to bring life to written words.

VU Meter

A meter on the engineer’s console that indicates the level of sound passing through the board.



The sound of many voices talking at once, used as background sounds for a party or restaurant. Originally, it was thought that saying the words, “walla walla,” over and over again in the background would simulate good sound ambiance for a crowded scene, but the prevailing view now is that actors doing walla should converse in the way they would normally do so in that situation.


A voice or sound with reverb added to it.

Wild Line

A single line from a script that is reread several times in succession until the perfect read is achieved. It’s considered wild because it is read separately from the entire script. Often performed in a series of three, where the actor reads the line three times in a row without interruption. Each line is read slightly differently, unless otherwise directed.

Wild Spot

A flat fee for a spot that airs for an indeterminate number of times within a 13-week cycle. Can be local, regional or national.


A pop filter, or pop stopper.


To rehearse or practice reading copy out loud. From the old days of theater where actors would have to rehearse in a woodshed before going out to perform.


The end, as in “That’s a wrap.”



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